One day 12 years ago, I found myself on my hands and knees, scrubbing the walls of our house. It was during the nesting phase of my pregnancy that I realized how much the fumes were affecting me. Back then, non-toxic cleaning products weren’t as readily available as they are now, but from that point, I made it a mission to find non-chemical cleaners that were safe for my baby and for the environment. Sometimes that also meant getting out the good ol’ vinegar and bicarb soda.
But thankfully, brands have finally caught up with consumer demand, and the “clean” cleaning product market is booming. Awareness and education around the health implications of toxic chemicals have also made us choose cleaner beauty products and non-toxic cookware. But with so many brands to choose from, which ones do you buy?
Ahead, we share some of our favorite non-toxic cleaning products that actually work (including one brand five of our editors use!) along with the chemicals you should steer clear of!
image by Kristen Kilpatrick
What to Toss:
If you’re ready to make the swap to clean cleaning products then it’s time to ditch the toxic chemicals once and for all. That means anything that has ingredients like:
Methylisothiazolinone, ammonia, butyl cellosolve/glycol ether, parabens, phosphates, synthetic fragrance, sodium lauryl sulfate, phthalates, 1-4 Dioxane, fragrance, dye, synthetic foaming agents, unnatural preservatives, water softening agents, pH adjusters, formaldehyde, bleach, artificial colors, and buffering agents.
Just like your food or beauty ingredient lists, always do your research. Look up the names of ingredients you’re unsure of, keep a list of the ones you want to avoid in your phone notes app, and typically (but not always) the fewer ingredients listed the better.
When possible choose fragrance-free or all-natural organic products. Look for essentials oils on the ingredients list for fragrance instead (but opt-out altogether if you’re sensitive to fragrances). Use simple detergents and soaps with short ingredient lists, and avoid antibacterial products with triclosan for home use.
White vinegar is always a great choice for general cleaning and can also replace your fabric softener or dryer sheets—or opt for wool dryer balls. (Biokleen Laundry Oxygen Bleach Plus uses the power of hydrogen peroxide for removing stains from clothing and your carpet.)
Tea tree oil is also another great antibacterial, antifungal alternative to chemical disinfectants. In fact, if you’re looking for an effective all-purpose germ-killing cleaner, simply add a few drops of tea-tree oil and a tablespoon of vinegar to some water (option to add your favorite essential oil for fragrance), then mix it all together in a spray bottle and start cleaning!
For stubborn surfaces like the bathroom, kitchen sink, or stovetops, I always reach for Bon Ami unscented powder. It’s made from natural ingredients like ground feldspar and baking soda without the added bleach, chlorine, dyes, or perfumes. It also doesn’t scratch the surfaces which are very important when you have white ones like mine! Also, a hot tip for cleaning the toilet bowl, mix some vinegar with Borax powder.
Read on for more healthy swaps…
Supernatural Cleaning Starter Set
I remember when this set came out. It changed the game and it helped to launch more brands just like it with a similar concept. Basically, you buy the starter set with four glass bottles—glass + mirror cleaner, counter + Granite cleaner, wood + floor cleaner, bath + tile cleaner. Then you simply add the Supernatural concentrate vials for each into the spray bottles with water. Then all you need to do is buy a new concentrate vial when you run out. So genius and they all smell amazing too.
Supernatural Cleaning Starter Set, $75
Blueland The Clean Essentials Kit
The Blueland range is based on a similar concept to Supernatural. You buy the set but instead of a concentrate in a separate bottle, Blueland founder, Sarah Paiji Yoo, saved any additional environmental waste by turning the ingredients into cleaning tablets that dissolve in the water. I really love this waste-free, sustainable approach.
Blueland The Clean Essentials Kit, $39
EC30 Home Care Subscription Bundle
If you’re really conscious about your carbon footprint (which we all should be) then EC30 is for you. Every year, the average family ends up with 108 plastic bottles from cleaning their homes and bodies. Even when we recycle, up to 90% still ends up in a landfill. So they don’t use plastic bottles or water. How? Their easy drop one-step toilet cleaner dissolves and foams with time after contact. For their surface cleaner, you can choose to drop the dried ingredients tab into a spray bottle filled with water, or you can dissolve it on a wet cloth and use it immediately. I discovered this brand in my research for this story so I haven’t tried it yet, but I am really into the concept so I’m definitely ordering some. They also partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to offset their immediate carbon emissions. Now, that’s how we hope all brands will operate in the future.
EC30 Home Care Subscription Bundle, $29.95
Branch Basics Premium Starter Kit
When I reached out to the Camille Styles editorial team to share the best non-toxic cleaning products they’ve tried, I was shocked when five of them replied at the same time with the same brand. That brand is Branch Basics. Anne Campbell has been a cult follower of the female-founded brand for years now because it helps her pare down on single-use plastics and is Made Safe Certified, which means it’s made without the 6,500+ toxic chemicals known to be harmful to both humans and the environment. Kelly Krause swears by their stain remover, Oxygen Boost: “It’s got red wine out of a white blanket and completely blew my mind.” Hannah agrees: “It magically gets out even the toughest stains on clothes, countertops, and furniture.” If you want to try it out, use this code and save $10 on your first purchase.
Branch Basics Premium Starter Kit, $69
Koala Eco Starter Collection
This company checks off all the boxes when it comes to creating beautifully fragrant, non-toxic products that still keep your home fresh and squeaky clean. This starter set includes their dish soap, multi-purpose cleaner, and hand wash. Each contains fragrances that’ll give every corner of your home major spa-like vibes.
Koala Eco Starter Collection, $47.43
The Honest Company Clean Vibes Kit
These sleek, simple, and minimalist bottles keep my under-the-sink storage from looking like a disaster (anyone relate?). This set comes with everything you need to keep your home clean and high vibin’—I love that they even thought to include palo santo in the bundle.
The Honest Company Clean Vibes Kit, $39.99
The Laundress Home Cleaning Best Sellers Kit
When you want the best of the best, this is the set to turn to. These curated products are hardworking but gentle, so you can trust that all the ingredients in every bottle are safe for you and your entire family (pets, included). Less grime, more gleam.
The Laundress Home Cleaning Best Sellers Kit, $49.50 (reg. $55)
Cleancult Complete Home Bundle
If you’re looking to dive deep into the world of non-toxic cleaning, this is the set that’ll get you there. It includes everything you need to embark on a cleaner cleaning journey: refillable glass bottles, cleaning refills for every surface and use, plus wool dryer balls and the best-smelling bar soaps you’ve ever used. I love that they boast biodegradable ingredients and paper-based packaging. Click through for your cleanest clean.
Cleancult Complete Home Bundle, $89.99
Grove Co. X Jeremiah Brent Art of Ceremony Home Collection
As a huge fan of Jeremiah’s interior design work, I knew that his collaboration with the Grove Co. would be nothing short of perfection. From the beautiful green bottles to the gorgeous custom scent, this collection ticked all the boxes, but more importantly, it works! I love the handwash and the dishwashing liquid but I especially enjoy the marble catch-all tray for resting my cleaning tools (although I have seen people use it for their palo santo rituals too). He really thought of everything to elevate this everyday task into a daily ritual.
Grove Co. X Jeremiah Brent Art of Ceremony Home Collection, $90.95 (reg. $107.55)
Puracy Natural Dishwasher Detergent Packs Pack of 50
If you haven’t heard of Puracy, it’s time to get on board. I am a big fan of their surface cleaner (more on that later) so I can only imagine these are also worth every penny too.
Puracy Natural Dishwasher Detergent Packs Pack of 50 $13.59 (reg. $15.99)
L’Avant High Performing Natural Dish Soap
This brand doesn’t look or smell like dish soap but it sure cuts through grease like one. It’s also impossibly chic for those of us who love pretty packaging as much as they love to save the environment. The bottle is glass too!
L’Avant High Performing Natural Dish Soap, $26
Puracy Natural Dish Soap 16 Oz Bottle and 64 Oz Refill
As I mentioned earlier, Puracy is a clean cleaning brand that you need to have on your radar. It’s simple, fuss-free packaging with ingredients that smell good and do good.
Puracy Natural Dish Soap 16 Oz Bottle and 64 Oz Refill, $22.93 (reg. $26.98)
Everspring Lavender Bergamot Multi-Surface Cleaning Wipes
We are biiiig fans of Target’s non-toxic cleaning brand, Everspring. Camille loves the entire line but uses these cleaning wipes on the regular—very handy when you have young children! Not only do they cut through grease and grime but the compostable cloth is also ammonia-free with 100% natural fragrance and never tested on animals either.
Everspring Lavender Bergamot Multi-Surface Cleaning Wipes, $2.79
Eco Roots Zero Waste Dish Soap
When I’m doing dishes by hand, there’s nothing I hate more than having cracked and dry hands from all the hot water and harsh cleaning chemicals. This dish soap contains aloe vera, which keeps my hands moisturized and dishes sparkly clean. Little fun fact: This soap does more than suds up your sink. It can wash off carpet stains, scrub your kitchen counters, and more.
Eco Roots Zero Waste Dish Soap, $14
Grove Co. Auto-Dosing Liquid Laundry Detergent Dispenser
I invested in this dispenser because I wanted to start buying my laundry liquid in bulk to save on waste. What I didn’t realize until it arrived was that this design has an auto-dosing feature. So when you turn the nozzle, it only pours out the correct dose you need for that load. It’s just so genius. Highly recommend.
Grove Co. Auto-Dosing Liquid Laundry Detergent Dispenser, $17.95
Grove Co. Ultra-Concentrated Liquid Laundry Detergent
There are so many flavors but I can never go past lavender. This one smells good and it also cleans our clothes really well too (because not all clean laundry detergents are created equal). If you want to remove tough stains though, I recommend trying out the Branch Basics Oxygen Boost I mentioned earlier—our team swears by it!
Grove Co. Ultra-Concentrated Liquid Laundry Detergent, $9.95
Blueland Laundry Starter Set
If you prefer tablets to liquid, then this laundry starter set is a great option. The beauty of these is that they’re naked which means they do not come individually wrapped in plastic film (PVA/PVOH or polyvinyl alcohol). Simply drop them into your washer for an earth-friendly clean—without sending dissolved plastic down the drain!
Blueland Laundry Starter Set, $18
Laundress All-Purpose Bleach Alternative
This brand has become a well-known figure in the laundry space and with good reason. This natural bleach alternative helps to whiten clothing without the risk of ruining them or the water that runs down the drain afterward.
Laundress All-Purpose Bleach Alternative, $16
EC30 Laundry Detergent
If the reviews are anything to go by, these laundry tablets leave your clothes looking clean and smelling fresh (a lot of people love the Granny Smith apples crisp scent) without any white residue that tablets have been known to leave in the past.
EC30 Laundry Detergent, $26.10
Everspring Fabric Softener in Lavender & Bergamot
If you do want to use a liquid fabric softener then reach for this one. Its paraben-, dye- and fragrance-free formula are safe for all clothes and its biodegradable formula promotes sustainability. Win, win!
Everspring Fabric Softener in Lavender & Bergamot, $3.79
Dropps Stain & Odor Detergent
When I first made the switch to sustainable, plant-based detergents, I was admittedly disappointed. While I was happy with all the good-for-the-planet options, I still couldn’t find a detergent that could get the job done. With Dropps, all of my laundry comes out without any stains or spots. My clothes are bright and smell amazing, plus I can feel good about the compostable packaging and knowing my detergent is free of any artificial dyes.
Dropps Stain & Odor Detergent, $24
Dirty Labs Signature Bio Laundry Detergent
The scent of Dirty Labs’ signature detergent has made me fall in love with my entire wardrobe all over again. It’s a subtle mix of magnolia, bergamot, and cedar—in other words, just about the furthest thing from the artificial fragrances of bigger brands. This detergent features their Phytolase® enzyme cleaning technology, which eliminates odors while still being safe for sensitive skin.
Dirty Labs Signature Bio Laundry Detergent, $19
Blueland Bathroom Starter Set
When it comes to the bathroom, we want hardworking products and bleach is usually the one ingredient we always reach for to kill germs and mold but it’s not great for your health or the environment. This bathroom spray doesn’t act like bleach but it will clean down any surface areas really well.
Blueland Bathroom Starter Set, $16
PUR Home All-In-One Concentrate
I can be mistrustful of all-in-one products, and in the past, that hesitation has been justified. While one might do a good job of getting my kitchen surface sparkly clean, I’ll find that it leaves my bathroom mirrors streaky.
This is the best all-in-one cleaner I could get my hands on. Not only does it do everything you’d expect from a multi-purpose cleaner, but I was surprised to find that it can even be used as a (super effective) laundry detergent. If you have one bottle of anything in your cabinet, make sure it’s this.
PUR Home All-In-One Concentrate, $30
If you’ve already made the switch, let us know in the comments what your favorite non-toxic cleaning products are!
This post was originally published on January 20, 2021, and has since been updated.
Share this Post